Author Topic: Undersea lab for Space Exploration  (Read 862 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Undersea lab for Space Exploration
« on: 03/29/2006 12:23 AM »
RELEASE: 06-109

NASA PREPARES FOR SPACE EXPLORATION IN UNDERSEA LAB

NASA will send three astronauts and a Cincinnati doctor under the
ocean next month to test space medicine concepts and moon-walking
techniques.

During the mission, called the NASA Extreme Environment Mission
Operations (NEEMO) project, new long-distance medical techniques that
could help keep spacefarers healthy will be practiced. Doctors
thousands of miles away will guide aquanauts as they perform
surgeries on a patient simulator. Doctors also will remotely control
robotic instruments to do the work. The procedures simulated in
Aquarius may one day be used to respond to emergencies on the
International Space Station, the moon or Mars.

Canadian astronaut Dave Williams will lead the undersea mission April
3-20 on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) Aquarius Underwater Laboratory. NASA astronauts Nicole Stott
and Ron Garan and Dr. Tim Broderick of the University of Cincinnati
round out the crew. Jim Buckley and Ross Hein of the University of
North Carolina at Wilmington will provide engineering support.

The crew members will conduct simulated undersea "moon walks" to test
concepts for future lunar exploration. During those simulated moon
walks, they will construct an underwater structure with the help of a
remotely operated vehicle, similar to what may be done by the next
travelers to the moon. This will be the ninth undersea mission
conducted by NASA in cooperation with NOAA.

A "mission control" at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, will
monitor the underwater expedition. Johnson's Exploration Planning
Operations Center will simulate future space challenges, among them
the two-second communications delay between Earth and the moon.

"This mission will be the longest NEEMO and Aquarius mission," said
NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd. "Our partnerships with other
agencies and countries should provide a treasure chest of useful
medical and exploration operations knowledge."

NEEMO 9 will demonstrate and evaluate innovative technologies and
procedures for remote surgery. Dr. Mehran Anvari will remotely guide
astronauts through diagnosis and surgery and use virtual-reality
technology to remotely guide simulated surgery by robots. Anvari is
director of the McMaster University Centre for Minimal Access Surgery
at St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Similar in size to the space station's living quarters, Aquarius is
the world's only permanent underwater habitat and laboratory. The
45-foot long, 13-foot diameter complex is three miles off Key Largo
in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It rests about 62 feet
beneath the surface. A surface buoy provides an outlet for power,
life support and communications. A shore-based control center
monitors the habitat and crew. Aquarius is owned and funded by NOAA
and operated by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The
NEEMO missions are a cooperative project among NASA, NOAA and the
university.

This mission originally was scheduled for October 2005, but it was
postponed due to hurricanes. Because of the NEEMO and space shuttle
mission schedules, Williams is replacing NASA astronaut Lee Morin as
commander.

Reporters may interview the underwater crew April 5 and 18 via
satellite television. To participate, contact Johnson's newsroom at
(281) 483-5111.

Additional points of contact include Julie Simard, Canadian Space
Agency, Montreal, (450) 926-4370; and Fred Gorell, NOAA, Silver
Spring, Md., (301) 713-9444, ext.181.

Through NASA's Digital Learning Network, classrooms will be enabled
for videoconferences with Aquarius. Students will conduct experiments
of their own before talking with the aquanauts. The pre-event
activities are designed to complement the NEEMO 9 mission objectives.
For information on the Digital Learning Network, visit:

http://nasadln.nmsu.edu/dln

Offline Dana

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RE: Undersea lab for Space Exploration
« Reply #1 on: 03/29/2006 06:51 AM »
Kind of an extension of Scott Carpenter's SEALAB work in the 1960s. Astronaut and "aquanaut."
"Don't play dumb with me! You're not as good at it as I am!"-Col. Flagg

"'Second Place' is just the first loser."-Bobby Allison

Offline SpaceCat

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RE: Undersea lab for Space Exploration
« Reply #2 on: 03/29/2006 03:18 PM »
NASA has had an interest in the underwater analogy for decades and has had input to a number of similar projects.  Since I've worked on many of them, I'll have to do a little synopsis in the Historical section one of these days.  In the late '90's NASA Life Sciences even built their own little underwater station named for Scott Carpenter--
http://quest.nasa.gov/space/challenge/background/station.html

That was a cool little project and the vehicle was small enough to trailer around to schools as part of the NASA Outreach Program..... but just when we were on a roll- all funding was cut and last I heard it's rusting away in an old hanger at the Cape. :(

Offline Jim

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RE: Undersea lab for Space Exploration
« Reply #3 on: 03/29/2006 03:25 PM »
Quote
SpaceCat - 29/3/2006  9:18 AMNASA has had an interest in the underwater analogy for decades and has had input to a number of similar projects.  Since I've worked on many of them, I'll have to do a little synopsis in the Historical section one of these days.  In the late '90's NASA Life Sciences even built their own little underwater station named for Scott Carpenter--http://quest.nasa.gov/space/challenge/background/station.htmlThat was a cool little project and the vehicle was small enough to trailer around to schools as part of the NASA Outreach Program..... but just when we were on a roll- all funding was cut and last I heard it's rusting away in an old hanger at the Cape. :(

Drive by it every day

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